This smart and eco-friendly packaging could prevent food poisoning


Scientists have reportedly developed a smart, eco-friendly form of packaging that they claim can prevent food poisoning by killing harmful microbes.

Scientists have reportedly developed a new ‘smart’, eco-friendly system packaging they claim can prevent food poisoning. While the packaging industry continues to use plastic despite its well-known detrimental effects, any new material or idea that can steer people away from synthetic polymers is always welcome. The new material developed by scientists promises to reduce plastic waste in the case of the new material developed by scientists. It might even prevent food poisoning.

Plastic waste has long been an environmental nightmare. Millions of tons of packaging materials, bottles and other single-use plastics often end up in the oceans, where they clump together and form large masses of floating trash, killing marine life and harming the ecology. They also sometimes wash ashore, polluting pristine beaches and affecting local economies. Cleaning up the waste has proven extremely difficult, as conservationists are often criticized for their ecological methods and costs.


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Scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) and Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, USA have developed a new “smart” food packaging material that they claim is eco-friendly and biodegradable. The waterproof packaging destroys dangerous bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella and Listeria, preventing food poisoning and stomach upset. It also prevents fungal growth, allowing meat, fish, fruits and vegetables to last longer. The study was peer reviewed and published in the academic journal Applied materials and ACS interfaces.

Natural, biodegradable and antimicrobial

Image Courtesy: NTU

The eco-friendly packaging material is all-natural and constructed from a type of corn protein called zein, starch, and other natural substances. Scientists have added natural antimicrobial compounds to the material to prevent harmful microbes and bacteria from growing in the packaging. The material is also described as “smart” because it is designed only to release the antimicrobial compounds when exposed to increased humidity and in the presence of bacteria. This ensures that the packaging lasts a long time while meeting the safety standards imposed by the food packaging industry.

The researchers also claim that the wrap can keep food fresh longer than standard plastic containers. To prove their point, they conducted an experiment which showed that strawberries packed with the new material stayed fresh for seven days before developing mold, while those stored in plastic boxes only stayed fresh for four days. . With multiple benefits, the new material holds great promise for food packaging industry, but it remains to be seen if it can be mass-produced at the same level and at a similar cost as plastic, which can be produced quickly and cheaply.

Next: New Recycling Technology Can Turn Plastic Waste Into Petroleum

Source: Applied materials and ACS interfaces, NTU

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